I read with dismay and not amusement, the conclusions drawn by research carried out by RBS Finsure as reported in your article "Taking the Michael" (Backchat, 8 March).
It would seem that those surveyed in the insurance industry by RBS Finsure have a real disdain towards their customers, scoffing at reasonable questions asked of brokers and laughing at items requested to be insured.
When has insuring parts of your body been viewed as ridiculous? Insuring expensive breast implants is no different to a model insuring her legs, except the sum insured?
Items such as a stone called Michael or 4 tonnes of jelly sound bizarre but so is modern art to many people.
In fact, isn't the CII currently using a picture of Marcel Duchamp's Fountain, the famous upside-down urinal as it's illustration of how diverse and able the insurance industry is to insure virtually anything?
I feel that the "unusual" questions posed to brokers by customers the article refers to are actually perfectly reasonable and not a cause for hilarity.
As a layman, how are they supposed to know what 'fire and theft' means in the insurance world? Do I have to own an item to insure it? This is again a reasonable question for someone to ask who is not 'in the know'. You insure a hire car on holiday but you don't own it do you?
To put this in perspective, do you know what PCR stands for? To those in the scientific and research sector, this is a simple everyday term to them, but I doubt you would see them laugh at an insurance broker who didn't know the answer.
PCR is polymerase chain reaction, the Nobel award winning DNA amplification technique used in nearly every laboratory in the world. Ask almost any scientist and he or she will know the answer.
These questions looked at in the cold light of reality, outside the smug world of insurance, are perfectly reasonable and if anyone is to blame for 'an uneducated' insurance public then it rests firmly with everyone working in the insurance industry.
After all, we are the ones who write the pages and pages of complex policy wordings, filled with definitions which you have to keep referring to, exclusions, conditions, warranties, excesses, claims procedures and legalities.
Insurance is a complex process and to understand it fully, you need to have a fair grasp of contract law and insurance practices. It also helps to have worked in insurance, as the common pitfalls, which the industry continues to allow customers to fall into can be known.
Considering these insurance customers are the ones who buy the policies and help make insurance the second largest UK export, which incidentally pays our wages (including mine, albeit vicariously) I really think the industry should show our customers a little more respect and tolerance.
Elizabeth Adams-Reid, Technical & marketing executive, IIB